The garish powder blue-and-yellow uniforms and tantalizing TV dinners weren’t the only sensory throwbacks at Saturday’s Rays doubleheader.
From the moment the gates opened at 12:10 p.m. to the 2:10 first pitch, throughout the first game and into the intermission, the melodic tune of an old-fashioned organ greeted fans.
Tom Hoehn, an organist based in Clearwater, brought out his dulcet tones for more than six hours. The marathon performance was nothing new for Hoehn, who’s played spring training games and other sports for several years.
“I can play forever,” he quipped.
Not only did Hoehn play entirely from memory — without sheet music in front of him — he improvised much of what he played, although he mixed in “period stuff” such as Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
“I’ve been playing for 53 years,” said Hoehn, 63. “I’ve probably got over 10,000 songs in my repertoire.”
The Chicago Cubs brought out the first organist in 1941, and many teams followed suit. By the 21st century, though, canned music began to phase out the genuine article.
But organists are making something of a comeback — as of March, more than half of MLB teams had one, according to Newsy.
While working in computer technical support during the week — “that pays the bills,” he said — Hoehn maintains a passion for the organ. And the Rays bringing it back full-time would be music to his ears.
“Hopefully,” he said, “I’ll come back here again.”
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Rays-A’s doubleheader: Throwback twinbill is music to his ears 06/10/17
[Last modified: Saturday, June 10, 2017 7:35pm]